Delivered by the primary and preferred time management option:
Mechanical chess clocks are required to facilitate the aim of the system. One of the pair of dials is called ‘tacet’ and the other ‘free play’.See image above. Each performer has an individual chess clock to monitor and manage their contribution. The performer plays when the ‘free play’ dial is running down and is silent when the ‘tacet’ dial is running down. Further modifications of the format can be explored (perhaps with duets sharing the same clock, or the ensemble split into two and sharing just two clocks) but the use of individual clocks to monitor the contribution of each individual performer is the original basic format.
Quick summary using 50:50 ratio
Each player `improvises` for 50% of the piece
Each player is `tacet` for 50% of the piece
The totals are aggregated
Each player/improviser has their own clock and manages their own time
Each player has `agency` over the content they share during the performance.
In the beginning:
The system was originally devised or created for use in workshops and for large ensembles playing free improvised music. The system can be used for ensembles of any size, and with any duration. The simplicity of the system management device ‘the adapted chess clock’ enables the delivery of a wide range of outcomes from the simple to the complex.
Current concert opportunities and ensemble descriptions:
- Blank Canvas 50:50 Octet, Liverpool & Manchester versions.
- Ad hoc small ensembles
- Workshop and conference opportunities.
System 50/50 works well - it’s a really good way to get a group to play effectively without egos , virtuosity , and shyness getting in the way. It is democratic, inclusive. coherent, leaderless, focused, there is room to think and time to listen, choices. It is less competitive more cooperative. Ends well. Simon Ross (Macclesfield), Blank Canvas Octet - Liverpool
On system 50:50 “Definitely something with LOADS of possibilities - the reaction in the car driving back was unbelievably positive - no one could remember playing in a large ensemble that was so "open". The openness allowed me to play quietly, which meant the dynamics were incredible for an improvising large ensemble.” - Charlie Collins Sheffield
Variations of the basic format could include:
- The number of musicians
- The duration of the piece
- The percentage split or ratio between “freeplay” and “tacet”
The observation and strength of system 5050
`It is dynamic, different settings created by exploring the variables above can result in very different experiences and skill sets to be explored as an individual or as a group
Services and support:
Phil Morton has twenty adapted chess clocks which are available to interested parties. System 50:50 is managed by praxis : arts and System 50:50 has access to the resources of praxis : arts.
What happens next: To express an interest: complete the form below or Contact Phil Morton: firstname.lastname@example.org : UK: mobile 07999518582
With thanks to:
Phil Morton has worked on this concept for some time - 10 years - but he acknowledges with thanks the recent input from the following: Martin Hacket (Oxford Improvisers), Robin Hartwell (Liverpool ) and the Centrifuge wiki-network (North).
System 50:50 Daccord!
P Morton: May 2017